Patience is a virtue – one that doesn’t come naturally for me. For the past month I’ve been impatiently wracking my brains for a new angle to find Hubert. My search, relegated to weekends now that I’m happily employed, has been moving along at a snail’s (or in this case, an escargot’s) pace. Last weekend the escargot didn’t move at all because I had to make a three and a half hour trek to help move one of my daughters into the sorority house near her college.
The female version of Animal House minus the togas, my anticipation for a leisurely dinner at a gourmet restaurant after a quick move-in was cut short at the sight of the driveway, overgrown with weeds and littered with bottle caps. Somehow I knew this move-in was going to be anything but quick. That thought was confirmed once I saw the state of the kitchen. Dirty dishes with petrified mac and cheese filled the sink, empty wine bottles decorated the soffit above the cabinets and, what first appeared to be singed food residue, was actually mouse droppings strewn in Jackson Pollock-like fashion on the white stove-top. I could go on and on but suffice to say it took me three hours to bring the kitchen to conditional status.
During my cleaning frenzy, I did get a glimmer of an idea. Maybe it was the collegiate climate, the educational environment, or maybe just the first symptoms of hanta virus from the toxic effects of mouse excrement, but the business textbooks on hotel management that were piled on the kitchen table suddenly called to mind several of Hubert’s etchings of French hotels . Might not one of these places of lodging still be standing? And might not one of these hoteliers recognize Hubert’s work? After all, he might have set up his easel right in front of one of these inns to capture the image on paper. Perhaps someone in one of these hotels might remember Hubert or remember someone who might remember him. It’s a remote possibility but it’s all I have to go on for the moment.
Exhausted and dirty but still swept up in school spirit when I arrived home I mustered some moxie and emailed my daughters’ favorite teacher – who just so happens to be une professeur de francais – to ask for assistance in sending a proper French email off to the hotels that are hopefully still in existence. But the email will have to wait a bit longer because le professeur est des vacances. All the platitudes of patience – “slow and steady wins the race”, “good things come to those who wait”, do not allay my growing vexation that this chase is still moving at a snail’s pace….